Guided Cycling Tours and Holidays in the UK
Rural England has its own special charm for the cyclist. We offer cycling tours and holidays around the beautiful county of Devon, home territory for The Chain Gang, our backyard, and it has a different character to our French Cycling Holidays and Italian Cycling Holidays.
Why choose cycling holidays in the UK? For a start off, we cycle on the correct side of the road, which can’t be bad. Devon is associated with country lanes and hedges, and above all it’s a green county. We’re always cycling through greenery, typically within sight of low ranges of hills, and sometimes in the middle of ‘em.
Every few miles there is a classic little English village, and if we’re lucky, a pub. The country pub is something that the UK has that you don’t find anywhere else in the world, and they’re so lovely that I’ve never understood why everybody hasn’t copied them.
The best of them are a focal point of village and local life, the social hub for a rural community. We’re lucky enough to stay in 3 fine examples on our Devon tour. When a pub makes the successful transition to a hotel, it’s a thing of beauty. Walk downstairs, and straight into the sociable atmosphere of a good bar, with fine ales, and well, to be honest that’s enough to convince me, sign me up!
“Probably our most beautiful tour. When the sun shines.”
The UK, of course, is an island, and Devon has plenty of coastline. We explore a lot of the south coast, very beautiful with sandy beaches and traditional seaside towns and villages. That means quite a few hills, but I think the stretch along the south coast of Devon from Dartmouth through Slapton, Hope Cove, Salcombe and into Plymouth, is the most beautiful section of any of our cycling holidays. I’ve wondered, only half-jokingly, whether the perfect cycling holiday might be to cycle from Dartmouth to Salcombe, and back, and back again, and just keep doing that for a week!
Away from the coast, Devon is dominated by Dartmoor, 365 square miles of granite moorland. It’s very beautiful and wild, and as well as highland cattle and sheep we’ll see hundreds of wild Dartmoor ponies. We cycle up the West side of Dartmoor, flirting with the open moor, along the Northern edge from Lydford to Okehampton, and across the moor on our last day as we follow the river Dart through Totnes to our last hotel at Bow Creek on the Dart Estuary. It’s a total contrast to the coastal area, and a beautiful combination.
“Very, very, very local food. Tasty too.”
Believe it or not, there’s some wine-making in Devon, but the libation of choice will always be cider and beer. A pleasant surprise in Devon these days is the quality of the food. We pride ourselves that on Chain Gang cycling holidays we’ll showcase the best of local cuisine, and in an agricultural / coastal region like Devon, that means a very wide choice of excellent local produce, very high quality local meats, and of course seafood, typically caught while we’re cycling, and then served to us hours later.